Why you should learn and how to get started

Several years ago I took a few online SQL lessons. The basics from those lessons have been useful to me in my role as a design researcher at Medium. They’re also much more accessible than you might realize.

Why learn? 3 ways SQL basics can boost agency.

Adjust a research recruit.

As a researcher, I sometimes need to make small changes to research recruits. For one study we needed with writers whose stories got lots of recommends. I wanted these writers to have published recently so the experience would be top of mind.

The query I got from our data scientist returned writers who had published within the last 2 days. Two days proved too restrictive for my recruit — we didn’t have enough results to work with. …


Designated facilitators can be invaluable to your team’s productivity and happiness

When meetings go wrong

I’ve been through a lot of painful meetings over the years. Some of them drag on without clear end or goal. Others hop from topic to topic without resolution. In the worst meetings, I think I’m invisible.

Lots can go wrong when you get a bunch of emotional creatures together in a room. Amazingly, the examples I share above have rarely happened in my meetings at Medium. It’s one of the things I love most about working here.

It’s not that we’re magical human beings. Anyone can get distracted or overly excited to push their point. …


Earlier in my career, I shared my user research findings in a presentation with quotes and video clips. Stakeholders praised the work but didn’t always do something with the information.

Now, instead of giving presentations, I lead workshops.

Here are three quick interactive workshop ideas to help product teams engage with your user research findings.

Why a workshop?

By default, presentations are passive. This makes them more effective for delivering information than for absorbing it. Paying attention is hard during an afternoon monologue. The speaker is in control and it’s natural to slip into the passenger’s seat.

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Presentations are passive. When the speaker is in control, it’s natural to slip into the passenger’s seat.

Delivery is an important factor — among many others — of a project’s success. Transferring information I’ve absorbed, through interviews and synthesis, to busy teammates is challenging. Workshops get stakeholders moving and engaged. Paying attention and internalizing findings becomes easier and more fun. …

About

Tess Rothstein

Design Research @ Medium. Currently collecting unusual stretches and antiquated Dutch words.

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